Selina Robinson resists calls to resign over her comments

A protest is planned outside the BC NDP caucus retreat in Surrey on Monday.

Get the latest from Katie DeRosa delivered straight to your inbox

Article content

Minister Selina Robinson said she will receive anti-Islamophobia training amid continued pressure for her to resign over her comments calling pre-1948 Palestine a “piece of shit land with nothing”.

Robinson, minister of post-secondary education and MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville, criticized for comments she made during an online discussion on Jan. 30 where she said Israel was founded on “a piece of shit land with nothing in it.”

Advertisement 2

Article content

Article content

She issued a lengthy apology Monday morning.

“My recent comments have caused pain and distress within the Palestinian community, the Muslim community and beyond. Very sorry. I take full responsibility. “My words were inappropriate, wrong, and I now understand how they have contributed to Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism.”

“During a time of crisis when many innocent people are being murdered, including Palestinians and Jews with family in British Columbia, those in positions of power have a responsibility to bring people together. “My comments, however, did the opposite and contributed to further division.”

He said that to learn from his “important mistake” he will participate in training against Islamophobia.
“to more deeply understand the concerns that have been expressed to me.”

Robinson also addressed his comments, made during a Jan. 30 online panel discussion hosted by B’nai B’rith Canada, comparing the conflict between Jews and Palestinians to a fight between the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations over land .

“I know that my comments have also caused pain, including among indigenous communities, for perpetuating harmful narratives of colonialism. The experiences of First Nations people are not mine to manipulate. “That was wrong and I am deeply sorry.”

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

A protest is planned this morning outside the BC NDP caucus retreat at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel in Surrey.

Organizers say a petition calling for Robinson to be removed from cabinet has 11,000 signatures.

Continued public outrage prompted the BC NDP to cancel a fundraising party planned for Sunday night in Surrey.

“We heard from the community that now is not the time for a celebratory event. We have work to do,” party spokesperson Heather Libby told Postmedia News on Sunday.

Leaders of more than a dozen mosques and Islamic associations in British Columbia have written to Premier David Eby, urging him to remove Robinson from her position as post-secondary education minister.

They said no BC NDP MLA or candidate for the upcoming election is welcome in their sacred spaces until the prime minister takes “restorative action that recognizes the deep pain in our communities.”

“Ultimately, it comes down to: does the BC NDP condone these attitudes towards any group deserving of equity, much less towards Palestinian Arab and Muslim communities who are already at greater risk of harm?” they wrote. “We cannot allow a minister to spread hateful rhetoric in our community without consequences.”

Advertisement 4

Article content

Religious leaders have joined Palestinian-Canadians, Independent Jewish Voices of Canada, the Palestinian-Canadian Scholars and Artists Network, the College for Palestine, the Jewish Colleges Network, Indigenous leaders and a federal NDP MP who have called for Robinson to be removed from office. cabinet.

Eby said Friday that Robinson’s comments “crossed a line” and stoked divisions in communities.

“Feelings of alienation are increasing among groups of people, especially people of Palestinian descent and people who are concerned about the death and destruction in Palestine that is happening right now,” he said.

Eby did not say whether Robinson offered to resign or was contemplating firing her, but said she “has work to do” to repair the damage her comments caused.

[email protected]

Recommended by Editorial

Here is the full text of Robinson’s apology:

My recent comments have caused pain and anguish within the Palestinian community, the Muslim community and beyond. Very sorry. I take full responsibility.

Advertisement 5

Article content

My words were inappropriate, wrong, and I now understand how they have contributed to Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism.

In a time of crisis when many innocent people are being murdered, including Palestinians and Jews with family in British Columbia, those in positions of power have a responsibility to bring people together. My comments, however, did the opposite and contributed to further division.

I know that my comments have also caused pain, including among indigenous communities, for perpetuating harmful narratives of colonialism. The experiences of First Nations people are not mine to manipulate. That was wrong and I am deeply sorry.

I thank each person who has expressed their feelings of pain, anger, sorrow and indignation to me. All of this is valid.

I also know that there will be those who are not willing to talk to me. I have broken the trust of many, including friends and allies. It’s fair that they don’t want to interact with me, I know I will have to regain their trust.

I am committed to learning from this important mistake. To that end, I will be participating in anti-Islamophobia training to more deeply understand the concerns that have been expressed to me.

Advertisement 6

Article content

I am committed to making amends, learning from the pain I have caused, and doing everything I can to rebuild relationships.

I’m sorry. I will do it better.


Bookmark our website and support our journalism: Don’t miss the news you need to know – add VancouverSun.com and LaProvincia.com to your favorites and subscribe to our newsletters here.

You can also support our journalism by becoming a digital subscriber – for just $14 a month you can get unlimited access to The Vancouver Sun, The Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites. Support us by subscribing today: The Vancouver Sun | The province.

Article content

Leave a Comment